These days when it comes online gaming, poker usually takes a back seat to sports betting and casino games in terms of how much revenue it generates, but in its first month of operation in Pennsylvania, PokerStars added more to its coffers than all but one sportsbook in the state, land-based or online.
According to revenue figures released by the Pennsylvania Gaming Control Board for the month of November, PokerStars PA collected nearly $2 million in rake at cash games and fees from tournaments. When considering that it was November 7 before PokerStars was able to offer its first 24 hour day of the month, the prorated revenue figure for the month exceeds $2.25 million.
To put those numbers into perspective, of the seven online sportsbooks in operation in Pennsylvania in November, only Valley Forge and its online sports betting provider Fan Duel, brought in more revenue than PokerStars PA. By far the most successful of all the online sportsbooks in the state so far, Fan Duel made more than $9 million on nearly $150 million in handle.
Revenue from PokerStars PA is even more impressive when considering that November is one of the biggest months of the year for sports betting with the NFL, NHL and NBA all in full swing.
PokerStars PA also outgained all of the land-based sportsbooks in the state. In fact, the only online poker room in the state generated more than double the revenue of any land-based sportsbook.
Even when combining the online and land-based sportsbook for each licensee, the prorated numbers for PokerStars PA rank third.
However, it is important to note that PokerStars PA holds the advantage of being the only game in town for now, while there were 12 land-based sportsbooks to divide their action.
Pennsylvania Online Poker vs Casino Games
Five online casinos were open for business in Pennsylvania during the month of November, and in total they generated $7.7 million from slots and table games combined. Rivers-Philadelphia led the pack with a total of nearly $3.2 million in revenue.
But none of the other operators were able to match the $2 million of PokerStars PA. in fact, Rivers-Philadelphia is the only online casino provider in the state to surpass $2 million in monthly revenue so far, having done it both in October and November.
However, if the trajectory of online casino game and online poker revenues in New Jersey is any indication of how the verticals will progress in Pennsylvania, poker’s rein will be short lived. As illustrated in the graph below, online poker revenue declined over time and online casino revenue grew at a rapid rate.
Pennsylvania Online Poker vs New Jersey Online Poker
Because Pennsylvania and New Jersey border each other and there are so few other states in the US that are of comparable size and have legalized online poker, the comparisons between Pennsylvania and New Jersey are inevitable.
However, there are some key differences to note when looking at New Jersey to assess the relative success of the Pennsylvania online poker market in its first month and beyond.
Some of the most significant factors to consider when comparing the neighboring states are:
- Pennsylvania is roughly 50% greater in terms of population than New Jersey.
- Pennsylvania had only a single online poker provider at launch while New Jersey had three.
- Poker and casino games launched at the same time in New Jersey, while the verticals debuted more than three months apart in Pennsylvania.
- Online poker providers did not have to compete against sports betting in New Jersey for the first several years.
With those factors in mind, some of the more interesting points when comparing online poker revenue in Pennsylvania and New Jersey are:
- PokerStars PA generated more revenue than any single operator in the history of the New Jersey market. The partypoker network under the Borgata license generated $1.84 million in January 2014.
- Of the 73 months online poker has been offered in New Jersey, only 12 times have all operators combined to generate more revenue than the prorated figure for PokerStars PA alone in its first month. (Its actual revenue ranks 40th).
- The most revenue generated by PokerStars NJ in a single month was $1.18 million (April 2016).
- PokerStars PA generated more revenue in its first month than in any month that WSOP/888 was sharing liquidity with Nevada and Delaware.
- Only one time (2016) did online poker revenue in the month of November for all operators combined exceed the revenue generated by PokerStars PA in its first month.